At least four protesters were injured in Kenya on Wednesday when police clashed with protesters calling on the government to lower the cost of living.
The opposition has called for three days of protests across the country starting Wednesday in a new wave of demonstrations aimed at forcing the president to address the rising cost of living.
President William Ruto had promised there would be no protests in the country and said he would confront opposition leader Raila Odinga “head on.”
Four protesters were injured in the capital, the Mathare area of Nairobi, according to a police officer who wishes to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
Businesses in Nairobi remained closed on Wednesday as police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.
Demonstrations were reported in several other parts of the country, including the western counties of Kisumu, Migori and Kisii, where the opposition enjoys strong support. Police said Tuesday that Wednesday’s protests were illegal as no permit had been issued.
The education minister ordered the closure of day schools in Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.
Protests last week left more than six people dead and many others injured, including 53 children left in shock after tear gas was fired inside the school compound.
Religious leaders have been calling for dialogue between the government and the opposition to end the protests.
Catholic bishops led by Anthony Muheria on Wednesday issued a statement reiterating that “no more blood must be shed” and urged the president to repeal the recently passed Finance Act that has agitated Kenyans.
The new finance law has raised the price of fuel to its highest level, as the government implements a doubling of the value added tax on petroleum products to 16%. The new prices have come into effect despite a court order suspending the implementation of the controversial new taxes.
Western envoys from 13 countries on Tuesday issued a joint statement calling for dialogue and expressing concern over the loss of life and destruction of property.
Human rights group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged political leaders to stop labeling protesters “terrorists” and respect the right to peaceful protest. The group called out the police for using force and live bullets to confront the protesters.
The right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the Kenyan constitution, but the opposition has in the past staged violent protests that have resulted in deaths.